July 18 – Unjust Punishment

He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God. (Romans 4:25)

Relate: Some times life just is not fair. I had a strong sense of the injustice of the world even at a tender age. I was probably eight at the time. I was making some toast in the kitchen when my sister came in and got a drink. She came in through the dining room door, poured herself a glass, then left out towards the office without shutting the fridge. Not thirty seconds later my mom appeared in the kitchen through the dining room door. She saw the open door and me buttering my toast and set in on scolding me for leaving the door open. My protestations of innocence only added lying to my crime which made the entire situation far worse. I don’t remember what my punishment ended up being… probably I had to wash the dishes for the next few days. All I remember was the injustice.

Growing up, I was the brat, my sister was the angel. If I did something wrong I would get in trouble. If she did something wrong, if there was even a sliver of uncertainty of who the culprit was, I would get in trouble. Though she will deny it to this day, we both know there was more than a few times I took the punishment on her behalf. The thing is, I don’t ever think I took that punishment voluntarily. Let me take that a step further: I am absolutely certain there was not one instance where she was getting in trouble and I volunteered to take her place. To be fair, the opportunities for me to take her punishment were few and far between. I was getting punished far more often than she was but despite the far greater number of opportunities, she never volunteered to take my place either.

We didn’t because people don’t. It just isn’t done. Maybe on occasion a spouse or a parent or child will take this noble walk, but even then it is a very rare thing. Yet we were strangers to God when He took our place. We were considered his enemies when He died for us. That is beyond my comprehension.

Continue reading:

https://theriverwalk.org/2017/07/18/july-18-unjust-punishment/

Who Is This Son of Man

https://theriverwalk.org/2017/05/22/may-22-2017/

Nothing Less Than Complete Surrender

When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:22)

Read: Joshua 15:1-63, Luke 18:18-43, Psalm 86:1-17, Proverbs 13:9-10

Relate: Jesus was a heretic. No, wait, please… before you go running for the exit, please hear me out. By our standards of orthodoxy He had to have been. What He taught all too often doesn’t seem to line up with our rigorous definitions of sound theology. I’m serious (sort of). Just take for example the way He answers the most important question anyone could ever ask: “What must I do to inherit eternal life.” Two different times someone comes to Him asking this question. Both times He seems to get the answer wrong.

I mean, seriously. What was He thinking? By the time I was in third grade I had learned by rote at least three different “proper” ways to answer this question. The first was called the ABC’s of salvation: Admit you are a sinner, Believe that Jesus died for your sins, Confess your need for Him. The second way was called the Romans road. Basically, you cherry pick various verses out of Paul’s epistle to the Romans to show a person the same thing as the ABC’s. The third way and easiest by far was to simply get a person to repeat with you the sinner’s prayer. Any of these three methods will work, but Jesus doesn’t use any of them.

Continue at: https://theriverwalk.org/2017/04/17/8570/

Are You Ready For Your Miracle

~ Beejai

But Jesus said, “You feed them.”
“But we have only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Or are you expecting us to go and buy enough food for this whole crowd?” For there were about 5,000 men there.
Jesus replied, “Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.” So the people all sat down.

Read: Deuteronomy 16:1-17:20, Luke 9:7-27, Psalm 72:1-20, Proverbs 12:8-9

Relate: Peter was in prison. Jesus had risen and gone into heaven. Pentecost had come and the number of people joining the church had exploded into the thousands. The religious leaders and then even Herod had taken notice. First, the Jews in Jerusalem stoned Stephen. Then, in an attempt to win over the hearts of his people Herod had James, one of the three leading disciples captured, imprisoned, and killed. After that he caught the big fish. Peter was in jail and tomorrow he was scheduled to die.

That’s when the angel showed up. Peter was asleep chained between two guards while others stood watch outside his cell. An angel shows up and wakes the apostle. “Get up, get dressed, and start walking” it says. Did you ever wonder about this? That angel could easily have just transported Peter right to the prayer meeting he would head to anyways. But no, Peter has to do the work. Get up (why on earth would he be sleeping the night before he was to be executed), get dressed, get going. On the flip side, I wonder if Peter was a heavy sleeper. What if he simply rolled over and went back to sleep? It wasn’t until the angel was gone and he was halfway down the street that he realized that he wasn’t dreaming. So what if he blew off those first commands, rolled over, and kept on sleeping. Can you hear that angel talking to Jesus up in heaven? I tried to get him up. I kicked him three times, shook him… I was even tempted to stand him on his head, but the big lug just wouldn’t wake.” Jesus just rolls his eyes, “Oh Peter. I guess I’ll be seeing you tomorrow.”

Continue: https://theriverwalk.org/2017/04/02/march-31-are-you-ready-for-your-miracle/

Through The Roof

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. (Luke 5:18-19)

Read: https://theriverwalk.org/2017/03/22/march-22-through-the-roof/

Live Today For Tomorrow

You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. (Mark 13:35)

Read the comments: https://theriverwalk.org/2017/03/08/march-8-live-today-for-tomorrow/

Who Am I

~

who am i

As they were walking along, he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” “Well,” they replied, “some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other prophets.” Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”
(Mark 8:27-29)

Read: Leviticus 19:1-20:21, Mark 8:11-38, Psalm 42:1-11, Proverbs 10:17

Relate: I like to pretend that I don’t much care what people think about me. For the most part that is true but it really depends on what they are thinking. If people think I’m crazy, maybe a little weird, I don’t mind. I know I am. If they think I’m out of shape, perhaps a little overweight, no biggie. I know I’m not. Well, not nearly as much as I was before hopping across oceans. If they think I’m ugly, that’s OK with me. So are they. But if people think I’m stupid or incapable of understanding something… we got issues.

I have always heard it said that Jesus only asked the first question as a lead in to the second. He was asking, “Who do others say I am?” only to get the disciples thinking of who they personally thought He was. The idea has merit and those who espouse it are probably right but sometimes I wonder if Jesus wondered if he was getting through to his hard headed disciples. I wonder if He wondered if He was effective. For example, when Jesus was twelve, He stayed at the Temple when His family headed back home. Once they realized He was missing they came back for Jesus and asked, “What do You think You’re doing?” (I can imagine Joseph asking this as he pulled Jesus by the ear out of the Temple) Jesus answered, “Didn’t you know I had to be about my Father’s business?” But then they told Him to get his butt in the car and go home and He obeyed. (Please forgive the artistic license) I wonder what He thought on that long donkey drive home.

Read more at: https://theriverwalk.org/2017/02/26/february-26-who-am-i/